Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh, Mount Assiniboine.

Mount Assiniboine.  The Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies.  People come from around the world just to gaze at this prodigious peak and climb it's flanks.  Well, except this year.  No one has yet to climb it because it's still snow bound. But that's another story.

Esthetically, it's beautiful with it's pyramidal shape and plumes of white cloud which cling to it's rocky summit.  It's an ecosystem unto itself, with clouds and mini-storm systems swirling high above.  It's mystical, magical and magnificent.

It's Mount Assiniboine

After my weekend plans fell through, I jumped on a last-minute trip with some of the running friends to enjoy a weekend in the Mount Assiniboine area.  The plan was simple: one day to run in, one day to play and one day to run out.

Seven years ago, on a similar trip - this place had ignited the idea in my mind that it was possible to run, on mountain trails and travel far and wide.  The 27km run in to Mount Assiniboine was my first time visiting this special region, my very first mountain trail run and truly, a life changing weekend.  I've never been the same since.  I haven't stopped exploring, trail running and enjoying the mountains since my first foray in to Assiniboine.

This weekend delivered some nasty weather up, yet again.  Cool temperatures, low cloud coverage, rain, sleet and snow were enjoyed by all on this "summer" weekend.  Fortunately, by the end of Day 2 - the rain stopped, the clouds cleared off and we got some glimpses of grandeur.  When the clouds finally lifted, we managed to get up high, bag a peak and we finally, finally got a glimpse of the mighty Mount Assiniboine.  I smiled so hard my face hurt, enjoyed the company of some great people and ran my little heart out in this incredible playground. 

 Charlie and Allan

 Kids in their Playground

 Charlie warming up after her swim in Lake Magog.  It was maybe 5c.

 Fresh snow.  Mini Blizzard.  Cold.  Wet. Fun.

 Lake Magog, Sunburst Lake, Cerulean Lake, Elizabeth Lake L-R

 Fresh snow on Nub Peak

 Mount Assiniboine makes an appearance





 ...and finally, blue sky and Mount Assiniboine.

 Trail Trash


On our last day, the sun came finally came out and we enjoyed a perfect summer's day.  The run out was awesome, a magical tour of Og Lake, Valley of the Rocks, Citadel Pass and Sunshine Meadows.  I enjoyed getting sweaty, feeling the sun on my skin and twice enjoyed that feeling of exhilaration that you only get by jumping in a high alpine lake. 

 Singletrack and Mount Assiniboine

 Everyone Was Happy
 There was Great Rejoicing!

...and we all ran happily ever after.

The End.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wil, Kate and Other Stories

The hazard of being a blogger with an adventurous lifestyle is that sometime, adventure gets in the way of writing.  Really, though - that's a pretty weak excuse when my friend Jill is pumping out the posting, writing and photography at least 3 times a week.  But hey, the girl has like 1000 Followers!!!  And she's in the business of writing.

Me, I'm in the business of fun.  And fun always wins out.

So, I'm giving y'all the whirlwind photo tour of a few different adventures of the past little while.  I'm heading deep into the mountains this weekend,to enjoy some quality time in the Mount Assiniboine area. It's an incredibly beautiful area, I'm looking forward to my time spent there.

A Little Story

What's the Wil and Kate thing all about?  Well, the Royal Couple With the Most-est decided to escape to the Canadian Rockies.  Where did they go?  Well, a helicopter whisked them away and dropped them at my most favorite place on earth:  Skoki Lodge. They were there enjoying a picture perfect 25C day and evidently, took a hike to Merlin Lake.  It so happened that I was there the next day when it looked like this:

But, it's all fun when you're having an adventure.  And despite the weather weirdness of this particular weekend, fun was had.  We braved a 24 hour snowstorm, a night in the tent and awoke to a white world outside.  While the Royals were well nested under their down duvets and custom-made Backcountry Shitter, I woke up feeling like this:

Baker Lake Campground Early AM - Camping is Fun!

However, I did get to sign the Guest Book at Skoki and sneak-a-peak to see if our Royal friends had done the same.  In the summer months I always sign the register with the same comment:  "A Nice Day for a Run."  Sure enough, I signed just below William and Cate.  I had to giggle when I saw Prince William called himself Willy.  Willy!  Baaa-ha-ha!  Oh Willy, you're so silly.  It looks like your lady has a more formal side - no Cate here, just Catherine.

Special Guests:  Leslie, Mike and Steve!   And Willy and Catherine....

Fortunately, the weather redeemed itself and we enjoyed a summery weekend this past weekend.  It was the first time this year, that it truly felt like summer.

Hope you are all enjoying a great summer.  Enjoy the pictures!

Leslie Out.

Healy Meadows from high above

The Monarch

Running the Monarch Ramparts

Monarch Ramparts

Views from the Ramparts

Cornice on the Ramparts - July 16,2011

We ran there!  Along the ridge line.  So beautiful!

...trip to Pigeon Mountain

Weather rolling in - Wind Ridge in the distance

Pigeon Mountain

...trip to Ribbon Falls, Ribbon Lake, Guinn's Pass and Galatea trails...

Ribbon Lake Run - above the chains

Happy Leslie

Ribbon Lake

Looking towards Buller Pass

Little People

Buller Pass

Monica and Stan - Guinn's Pass

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's the Beginning of a Great Misadventure

Oh, Summer in the Rockies.

'Nuf said.

Monday, July 4, 2011

It's the Beginning of a Great Adventure

The past few weeks have been busy ones.  All sorts of good things happening, good times and great adventures.  I got to make a whirlwind trip to California for Western States, Summer Solstice has come and gone and so has the month of June.

My experience at Western States was fun, energizing and yes, a Great Adventure.  To see all of these runners from the front of the pack to the back of the pack makes your eyes wide open in awe.  There's inspiration wherever you look - and I didn't have to look far while pacing Angela to yet another stellar 100 Mile finish.  The girl was tough, strong, steady and mentally solid.

She's Tough.  And Amazing.

My Banff friends Brenda and Ellie had great races as well, with Brenda cruising easily, confidently and happily to the finish line.  After a rough start, Ellie pulled out all of the stops and finished up her race in epic style blazing the last 20 Miles for the win.  The scenery also inspired - from the American River Valley to the high peaks of Truckee, Donner Pass and Lake Tahoe - this is beautiful country.

Team Banff Rocks!

Upon returning from Western States, I also had some inspirational visitors.  My home was abuzz with the good energy of Cricket Butler and Stephen Huddle - a couple of cyclists who were getting ready for a Great Adventure.  Cricket and Stephen are cycling the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route as participants in the Tour Divide - a self supported mountain bike race from Banff to New Mexico.  Cricket is going for the ladies course record - which is currently held by my friend Jill Homer.  How cool is that?  Needless to say, their energy and excitement was reverberating off the walls of Chateau Brodsky.  Keith and I have put the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route on our Great Adventure List. We love the idea of getting on our bicycles in Banff and touring down to Mexico.  Cricket and Stephen rolled out early in the morning of June 30th and we'll be cheering them on online with their efforts.

Bikepacking = Fastpacking  
Cricket is traveling light and fast!

 Off to Mexico
Pack your Light Saber.

Summer Solstice also came and went, the eternal change of season.  When you live in a place where seasons dictate the ebbs and flows of our day-to-day existence, it's not just symbolic of change - it's significant.  On that note, the end of June and the change of season brought with it some personal change in the world of Keith and Leslie.  Way back in the New Year - we were pondering life and actually decided to make a big change.  Keith called up his employer and told them he would be done working on June 30th - the end of his contract.  My hubby has always loved his job as a Sales Rep for Rocky Mountain Bicycles, but he decided that he was done.  He wants to take a few years off, spend less time on the road, work locally and seasonally and in between - take his wife traveling.  Sounds Good to Me.  He leaves Rocky Mountain as the top salesman in all of North America.  We decided, why not leave on top?  When your employer is happy and life is good.  We leave September 15th for 3 months in Australia.  Hello World.

This past weekend, we had the pleasure of attending our friends Geoff and Tracy's wedding in Jasper.  It was a beautiful way to spend Canada Day and I couldn't possibly think of anything more symbolic to celebrate the Beginning of a Great Adventure. 

It's the beginning of a Great Adventure

On that note, no trip to Jasper would be complete without actually enjoying a Great Adventure. We worked off our post-wedding indulgences with a 42km trip to Berg Lake - one of the most beautiful places on Earth.